Cholesterol is considered one of the most dangerous threats to human life today. Statistics from the World Health Organization show that heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. Also, high blood cholesterol is one of the main factors that make a person vulnerable to cardiovascular disease
What is cholesterol?
- Cholesterol is a sticky, semi-oily, waxy substance that is tasteless and odorless, present in the blood and all parts of the body.
- About 80% of all cholesterol in the blood is synthesized in the liver and 20% is extracted from food sources.
The normal level of cholesterol in the blood:
|Less than 200 mg/100 ml (3.5 mmol/L)||Safe natural level|
|200-239 mg/100 mL (3.5-5.2 mmol/L)||cutoff|
|More than 240 mg/100 ml||The high risk limit|
Types of cholesterol:
1. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL):
Increased cholesterol in this fat protein leads to deposition on the arterial walls, the most important of which are the arteries of the heart and brain. This is known as harmful cholesterol.
2. High-density lipoproteins (HDL):
This is known as beneficial cholesterol, as it transports cholesterol from various parts of the body, including the arterial walls, to the liver, where cholesterol is removed and transformed into the yellow matter that is excreted through feces.
The factors that help in raising the cholesterol level, and the most important of these factors:
Obesity and lack of physical activity: Increasing body weight and not exercising periodically increases cholesterol and reduces beneficial cholesterol.
Diet: Eating foods high in fat and high cholesterol contribute to increasing the level of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is available in types of animal foods such as (meat, eggs and cheese).
Smoking: Cigarette smoking damages the blood vessel wall in the body and makes it more likely to form fatty lumps. Smoking also helps lower cholesterol.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure damages the arterial wall and thus the body is more likely to accumulate fatty blocks on the arterial wall.
Sugar: Chronic high level of sugar leads to high cholesterol and thus arterial narrowing.
Having a family history of atherosclerosis: If a family member (first degree) had had atherosclerosis before the age of 55, the chances of high cholesterol in the blood would be more than normal.
To maintain normal cholesterol levels in the blood, you must do the following:
- Periodic medical examination by conducting periodic blood tests to monitor the level of fat and cholesterol in the blood and necessary action when the level of cholesterol rises according to the doctor’s instructions.
- The persistence in exercise helps reduce the level of harmful cholesterol, and raises the level of beneficial cholesterol, which makes the heart and blood vessels less vulnerable to deposition of cholesterol (and walking is one of the easiest and most effective exercises).
- Maintaining the weight within the normal limits and trying to lose it if it was overloaded by following a healthy diet program to lose weight and under the supervision of dietitians.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and follow healthy eating habits, which include:
- If your cholesterol level is just high, avoid fats, fried foods and oils such as coconut and palm oil, and use unsaturated fats such as soy oil, corn oil and olive oil.
- Replace red meat such as: (beef, liver, kidney and brain) with white (such as chicken and fish).
- Eat more fiber-rich vegetables, leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains such as bread, oats, rice and legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas.
- Avoid starches when high triglycerides rise